Coffee, An Aromatic Beverage
I’ve enjoyed drinking coffee my entire life. I love the aroma of coffee beans as I smell the beans when I first open a new bag of coffee. The smell hits me in my face and it’s such an alluring smell to me. Many people feel the same way about coffee as I do. It is the most popular drink in society today because the smell is so aromatic and addicting.
Coffee is more than just going to the supermarket, choosing the right bag of coffee, brewing a pot, and drinking a cup of it. Although, it has always been a dilemma for me when I try to select the right bag of coffee to buy! It’s because I want to select the best coffee I can. It’s not about buying a popular brand such as Maxwell House or Folgers, taking it home, and brewing it. No , it’s a lot more than just drinking coffee. There’s a lot to know and learn about this popular drink. Coffee Plantation
The Beginning Process of Coffee
When coffee is grown in a coffee plantation, there are strict guidelines that must be followed. It’s not just picking coffee beans off trees and sending them to market, but actually, the process starts more than a year before the seeds are even planted. When this process starts, coffee growers begin walking through these coffee plantations in exhausting heat, picking small bags full of red ripe fruit from coffee bushes. After each bag is full, the bag is tagged with a certain number that identifies which particular bush the beans came from. Thousands of these fruits are dried and later sent to a roaster to be roasted. After each of these roasted bags come back from the roaster, each bag is ground and the coffee is made Coffee Roaster
Coffee roasters roast their coffee beans at temperatures ranging between 350 degrees F to 460 degrees F and roasting times run between 8 to 18 minutes. These expert roasters listen very closely for the first crack to determine what color range of light too dark to make their coffees. Some of these expert roasters will not pass beyond a certain amount of caffeol, which is the fragrant oil produced in burnt coffee, to balance the precipice of smoky and bitterness. Other factors for roasters to consider are bean size, density, moisture, and roast color which brings forth a delicious brew. This can only be distinguished by experienced and heartfelt roasters.
While the coffee is being brewed, experts called “baristas” come in and taste the coffee so they can judge it. These “baristas” are much like the wine sommelier, who come in and taste the wine so they can judge the wine, except baristas specialize in coffee. Out of all the bags and lots of coffee, they chose the most aromatic, strong, and better-looking coffees. The bushes, where these seeds come from, are marked and protected with netting so they can keep the birds away.
Special Aromatic Beans
The coffee beans on these special trees are just that, they are very special, and are at the heart of the coffee plantation and its owner’s livelihood. The coffee beans on these plants are not harvested like the coffee beans from the rest of the plantation. These beans are allowed to ripen until they fall from the bushes when they reach full maturity.
These special coffee beans are sent to the nursery where a special mix of soil is made and put into polyethylene bags. Two of these seeds are dropped in each bag and will be given special care. Each of these bags of soil and seeds is put under-regulated shade for the next year and both seeds are allowed to germinate. After this year, only the strongest plant with more leaves and a thicker trunk will be kept and the weaker plant will be discarded. The plants that are kept will be watered and fertilized every two weeks, and they will be inspected closely to see if any disease shows up on them. If any disease does show up, the diseased ones will be destroyed.
During the year and a half that it takes for the plants to grow big enough to be planted to their new permanent home, workers are preparing the permanent site for them to be planted. Huge tracts of land are cleared of debris, fallen trees, and brush. They cut branches from other trees so they can cover the new plants and protect them from the sun. These workers will dig trenches where the plants will live and fill the trenches up with rotten leaves and other organic material. They will dig up the brush, put down plastic hose irrigation pipes in the trenches, plant grass, and connect it to the plantation so that the plants can be watered by one or two men at any time. If anyone looks at the land, he/she can see that it looks like a majestic stairway going up a mountain.
After the permanent site is prepared, the plants are now ready to be moved to their new permanent home. But there is another round of selection and only the best from this selection is transplanted in the ditches where organic fertilizer has been buried. Thousands of these little plants are tenderly transplanted until the first phase is finally complete. For the next three years, these plants will be fed with organic materials, watered from cold, clean mountain spring water, and kept surrounded by a carpet of green, luscious grass. Only personnel authorized by the coffee plantation owners are allowed into the new area and they are only allowed to wear approved clothing which they must change each time before they enter the plantation. These precautions are taken to help prevent disease and dangerous bugs from destroying their coffee crop.
By the end of the second year, the plants flower for the first time. The coffee plants produce beautiful, delicate white flowers, which have a sweet smell. The pollen from the flowers fills the air and the bees start buzzing from plant to plant. These beautiful flowers are removed as soon as possible because they are not ready to produce coffee beans, yet. They need to mature more and grow stronger.
Another year goes by and the cycle of life repeats itself; the flowers bloom, the bees come back, but this time, Nature is allowed to move in and follow its course. Three months after the plants bloom with their white flowers, the bushes are filling up with green coffee beans. After the rainy season passes and dry season starts, the green mountains filled with coffee plants start to change into shades of yellow, orange and red. Collecting coffee beans start and for almost a month; men, women, and children are hired to walk around the bushes and hand-pick only the red beans. After another month, the remaining green and yellow beans are picked and thrown out.
Ripe Coffee Beans
These red beans that have been closely hand-picked and scrutinized are now taken to coffee mills. These coffee mills clean the beans and use water to remove the skin leaving behind only brown seeds. The wet brown seeds that are left are put on huge cement floors and dried under the sun while being raked around by wooden rakes. This process allows the seeds to be evenly dried. These drying areas that the seeds are put on can be as big as two or three football fields.
After the coffee beans have dried evenly, they are put out in the sand early in the morning and bagged while the sun is setting. When the majority of them have reached 40% humidity, they are taken to selection rooms where they are again scrutinized and classified for color and size. The coffee that is selected and classified is then roasted and ground to perfection. This is the coffee that is bagged and sent all over the world so you can have that special pick-me-up every morning.
Along with this long and tedious process that the coffee plantations and roasters do, coffee is further scrutinized. Every coffee considered for purchase and actually purchased is scrutinized by visual, olfactory, tactile taste, and taste analysis. The SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association) Cupping Standards establish how cuppings are executed so that measures are consistent from the roaster to the roaster. The evaluation by common standards acts as a benchmark to enable roasters to verify, select, and match up what coffee bean will be right for certain roasts as well as provide a scientific application to analyzing coffee.
The Best Coffee
Not only do we love drinking coffee, but we also want the best coffee as well. When we think of the best coffee, we primarily think of Brazilian coffee. We think that Brazilian coffee is the best because Brazil produces some of the world’s best coffee and has done so for the past 150 years! It all started in 1727, in Pará, Brazil, when Francisco de Melo Palheta planted the first tree. With coffee production starting in Pará, it arrived in Rio de Janeiro gradually by 1770.
Initially, Brazilian coffee was planted just for the sole consumption of Brazil. All things changed in the 19th century when Europe and America started demanding more of this Brazilian coffee. So by 1820, plantations started to take root in the Brazilian regions of Mina Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro—by then, the country was producing 20% of the world’s coffee. When 1830 came, coffee was the largest export of Brazil, which was already 30% of the world’s production!
From the span of 1880 to 1930, Brazil had a substantial increase in coffee production. By 1920, Brazil supplied 80% of the world’s coffee. In more recent times, Brazil supplies almost 60% of the world’s total production.
What Are You Looking For In A Coffee
Coffee is a favorite beverage of many people today and some can’t go a day without having a few cups of this delicious drink. The drinking experience can be determined by the choices that you make including the selection of the best coffee beans to the choice of the best coffee makers to accommodate all your coffee making needs. Espresso coffee beans are very popular, but you can also find other options to suit your preferences. A few tips can help you in making the right decision when buying the best coffee beans.
What are you looking for when you purchase your coffee? Looking to buy the best coffee really depends on what you are searching for when you consider what is “the best.” There is coffee that is strong and bitter with a kick. There is some that is smooth and bold. Instant coffee is good enough for some while others have to have it brewed. Some coffees only come in ground form while others are available in the bean form and ground at the time of brewing. Paying a lot of money for coffee does not mean that every person who drinks it will like it. There is no way to say that there is one kind of coffee that is best when compared to everything that is available on the market. When looking for the best coffee, make sure it is in line with your personal preferences because you are the one who will be buying it and ultimately drinking it.
Many people consume several cups of coffee a day. There are many benefits to drinking coffee. When you are looking to finding the best coffee, do not be swayed by someone else’s opinion. Take the time to think about what you need from your coffee and begin your search for that perfect cup. As for me, I purchase coffee from various parts of the world. I enjoy coffee from Costa Rica, French Guyana, Brazil, and Guatemala. In addition, I own two different coffee grinders and I prefer buying coffee beans so I can grind my coffee when I decide to make a pot of coffee.